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Eco-friendly craft projects to upcycle plastic bottles

Next time you have some plastic bottles to dispose of, try one of these fun and creative ideas

Eco-friendly craft projects to upcycle plastic bottles

We all know we should be doing what we can to reduce the amount of single-use plastic we’re throwing away, but it’s not always possible to avoid it completely. So, next time you have some plastic bottles to dispose of, why not try upcycling them, instead? Scott Hawthorne, from waste management experts, shares some crafty ways to re-use plastic bottles.

Create a mini terrarium

Terrariums, and succulents in general, are very much in style at the moment, and this is a very affordable and easy way to make your own DIY version. All you’ll need is a two-litre plastic bottle (make sure you wash it thoroughly before using it), potting soil, some decorative rocks or gravel, and two or three little cacti or other succulents that are suited to a small terrarium environment.

Using a craft knife, carefully cut the bottom third off the bottle: this will be the base. The upper part will be the lid.

Fill the base with a couple of inches of soil, and then dampen it lightly. You want the soil to be moist, but not too soggy, so don’t overwater it. Next, carefully plant your succulents — you’ll want to wear some gardening gloves to protect your hands if you’ve chosen any prickly ones. Then, add some of the gravel around the base of the plants.

Finally, slide the top of the bottle into place over the base to complete the terrarium. Finished! Be sure to place your new terrarium in a place that gets plenty of direct sunlight, and mist or water it lightly once a week.

Create a stylish lantern

Using just an old two-litre bottle, some battery-powered LED fairy lights, and a sheet of craft paper, you can create a really stunning light that almost looks like a designer piece. The finished lantern looks so chic, you’d never know it actually started life as a plastic bottle! Take a look at this guide on Oh Oh Deco to see a full breakdown of the steps you’ll need to follow.

If you’re quite crafty, then you can have some fun cutting intricate patterns into the craft paper to create a stunning play of shadows and light when the lantern is switched on. You could also paint some multicoloured dots on the craft paper, which will create an almost stained-glass effect. Just be sure to use LED fairy lights for this project, as older filament-style bulbs can heat up and melt the plastic.

Make watering your plants easier with a bottle feeder

If you often forget to water your plants, then this is the craft for you — and it couldn’t be simpler to make. Larger bottles can be used for bigger plants that require a lot of water, while smaller bottles are great for potted plants or window boxes. It also helps to make sure the water reaches all the way down to the roots, for healthier plants. This trick can be used on both houseplants and in your garden, too.

To make this, take an empty plastic bottle with a plastic cap, and cut the bottom off using a pair of scissors. Then use a small nail and a hammer to puncture a small hole in the centre of the cap. Water the plant thoroughly, and then press the empty bottle into the soil cap first, taking care not to damage the roots. Push it several inches deep — you only want a couple of inches to be left sticking out. Then, pour some water into the bottle until almost full. It will continue to water your plants as the soil dries out.

Help our feathered friends with a bird feeder

Another great craft idea that is fairly simple to make is a DIY bird feeder. Not only will this help to reduce your plastic waste, but you’ll also be providing your local wildlife with an extra food source, which can be especially helpful during the colder months when natural food sources are scarce. Plus, you’ll be able to enjoy watching the birds as they stop by for a snack.

To make this, all you need is a 500ml plastic bottle, a wooden stick (ideally one about the size of a pencil), some string or twine, and some bird seed or nuts to fill it with. Pierce some holes about an inch up from the base of the bottle, and push the stick through, so there’s an even amount sticking out on either side. This is where the birds will perch when feeding.

Then, pierce a few more holes a couple of inches up the bottle — these should be wide enough that the birds can peck at the seed, but not so large that the seeds will spill out. Fill the bottle with bird feed until it’s about three-quarters full. Next, pierce a hole in the neck of the bottle, and thread your string through it and tie it tightly to create a loop. Now all that’s left to do is hang your new feeder up in your garden, then sit back to enjoy a spot of bird watching.

We all know we should be doing what we can to reduce the amount of single-use plastic we’re throwing away. So, raid your recycling bin and try one of these fun plastic bottle craft ideas today!